During the 13 years Peter Lynch was the manager of the Fidelity Magellan Fund, Magellan was the top-ranked general equity fund. Time called Lynch the nation’s "number one money manager." But Lynch’s money-managing success came with a price.
As much as I enjoyed managing a portfolio the size of the GNP of Ecuador, I missed being home to watch the children grow up. They change fast. They almost had to introduce themselves to me every weekend. I was spending more time with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Sallie Mae than I spent with them. When you start to confuse Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae, and Fannie Mae with members of your family, and you remember 2,000 stock symbols but forget your children’s birthdays, there’s a good chance you’ve become too wrapped up in your work.
I was celebrating my 46th birthday with my wife, Carolyn, and my daughters, Mary, Annie, and Beth. In the middle of the party, I had a revelation. I remembered that my father had died when he was 46 years old. You start to feel mortal when you realize you’re only going to exist for a little while, whereas you’re going to be dead for a long time. You start wishing you’d seen more school plays and ski meets and afternoon soccer games. You remind yourself that nobody on his deathbed ever said, "I wish I’d spent more time at the office."